BUSO performs Shostakovich and Beethoven at Symphony Hall on November 20,
8 p.m.

Vol. IV No. 14   ·   17 November 2000   

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Why can’t turkeys fly?

"Actually, turkeys can fly," says Frederick Wasserman, CAS associate biology professor and coordinator of the MET biology program. "Turkeys, like their relatives the chickens, don’t fly very well, but they can fly. The smaller passerine birds, such as sparrows and warblers, a group that includes more than half of all living birds and consists chiefly of songbirds, are much better fliers. These birds have more red muscle fibers in their wings than white muscle fibers. The red fibers, which have a smaller diameter and are better suited to the efficient use of oxygen, are beneficial to flight.

"Turkeys, however, have more white fibers, which are better for power and not for distance flight.

"Turkeys can fly, although it’s not a common sight, so be careful when that Thanksgiving bird is placed on the table November 23. My bet is that it will disappear before you can blink your eyes!"

"Ask the Bridge" welcomes readers’ questions. E-mail or write to "Ask the Bridge," 10 Lenox Street, Brookline, MA 02446.


17 November 2000
Boston University
Office of University Relations